I have been meaning to drop this pun for a while, and Nick the trickster just inspired me to do so with the riff linked to above, which talks to how IT economics tends to ignore the “externalities”…
There are real costs though associated with wasted energy, for example. Sometimes externalities become very real indeed.
What is a Cheap Technology Officer? Someone that gets it, that won’t throw good money after bad, that understands where and how commodity components can be used to great effect, and where an advantage might lie in proprietary technology.
Cheap Technology Officers are able to juggle a number of variables, and understand the limiitations and opportunities of cost/benefit analysis.
Don’t spend money where you don’t need to. Negotiate as if your life depends on it. Knock vendors heads together. Play them off against one another. Divide and rule. But don’t alienate. Punish the salesman not the vendor.
Always bear in mind what I call Less’s law – the less you pay up front the more you may pay in maintenance, support and so on. Open source isn’t always cheap, even if its “free”.
Cheap Technology Officers are masters at sweating assets.
Cheap Technology Officers are frugal – if their servers were socks they would darn them when holes appeared – its called patching, right? Unless of of course its cheaper to throw them out.
Cheap Technology Officers try to make decisions based on economics and capability rather than religion.
Cheap Technology Officers understand where the limits of good enough lie.
So welcome to the new CTO.
Can you name some? I would happily start a list, if I can get some community input. Maybe Nick can help with that. Perhaps RedMonk Radio could start a Cheap Technology Officers series.
Or how about Kevin Campbell, chief application architect at Univar USA, the largest distributor of industrial chemical products in the US, which runs all its apps on a mainframe, but has a low IT spend as a proportion of revenues (video here)
Both of the above examples happen to use IBM platforms that many people consider to be “expensive”. I am not making a particular point – they were just the first examples that sprung to mind.